Overachieving. What does it get you?

This may sound odd, but I have often found that overachievers I have come across are focused on areas that may not get them to the place they actually want to be. For instance, when I think back to being in high school, a vast majority of the students who were your average or below average students have turned out to be some of the most successful business people I have encountered.

Plenty of examples of either non-academic focused, or what were perhaps “late bloomers” in terms of their motivation can be cited (e.g., Debbi Fields, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Michael Dell, Evan Williams, Kylie Jenner). All of these people became either millionaires or billionaires, but I can’t confirm if they are all satisfied with their lives. However, we can assume they have other concerns that having vast amounts of money bring with it.  Whether they were an overachiever likely isn’t one of them.

Controversially suggesting that being an overachiever may not be important, and may not be a  popular sentiment. However, it is more important to consider whether overachieving is always worth it. Is it?

If you have been characterized as someone who is, let’s stop and pause for a moment to think about how having this skill has helped you. Perhaps it allowed you to graduate at the top of your class? Or, maybe you landed your dream job, or got into a top-notch business, law or medical program?  All of these attainments are commendable, but does it always produce the end results you are looking for?

Having one strong characteristic can be a good thing. Although having a mix of them is even more desirable. Why? Because from my perspective of having seen the differences in those who are overachievers and those who are not, I have seen that pure overachievers tend to rely too heavily on their overachieving strength. This then often ironically results in a failure to produce their desired attainment.

How is this possible? This happens because they have failed to recognize that similar to a recipe, there are multiple ingredients which when combined properly make the end result more desirable. So, are there certain characteristics which can be either tapped into, or leveraged via others to help overachievers, and non-overachievers? In a word, yes.

Now, that I fully have your attention, you are probably wondering what they are? Luckily for most people, there isn’t one perfect combination of talents that will guarantee you success. Although referencing the recipe analogy, there are certain talents which provide a stronger and more sought-after outcome. Whether you possess some of the talents which will help you to obtain better end results from any of your pursuits, isn’t something we have a great deal of control of. However, like a chef, knowing which ingredients to pair with one another for a recipe is in fact the key to increasing your chances for success.

Below are some items to consider, and ideas for how to go about either amping up and combining your overachiever, or other skills to propel you towards having more successful outcomes. Keep in mind that not all successful outcomes result in a monetary payment, as there are plenty of forms of achievement which you can benefit from. Helping others would be at the top of my list.

  • Consider making a list of people in your life who have reached the apex of their career.
  • Queue up brief meetings with the people on your list and interview them about the path they took to get to where they are.
  • Evaluate the achievements you have attained, and assign them a value of 1-5 (5 being the top). Factor in how much this achievement has made a difference in your life, or the lives of others. Potentially you have two columns, as the ratings might be different.
  • If you are not a strong communicator, partnering with someone who is, could make the difference to helping you to take your achievements to a higher level. Why? Because they can help to serve as an “unofficial” public relations person for you. Or, they can provide you with insight into how to go about doing this yourself.
  • What other skills do you have which have contributed the most to allowing you to achieve your attainments? Place the “other type” of skills next to, or add a third column to your achievements attained list.
  • Has being an overachiever ever resulted in a negative or less than desirable outcome? Sometimes overachievers go to extremes, and this can cost them their health and loss of relationships.

Working towards striking a balance when you are an overachiever is critical. Finding others with skills such as consistency, discipline and someone who can help you to strategically have a peripheral view of what you are working towards, will also be beneficial in harnessing the negative aspects of overachievement. Keeping your overachiever in the positively productive focused zone is ideally where you want to be. Now go make this happen.

#Business #Success #Leadership #Achievement #Achiever #Highachievers #Tipsonhowtoachieve #Overachiever #Overachievers #Overachievement

PowerUp Hero Show Video Interview

Liza Wisner the producer and host of PowerUp Hero interviewed me last week. During this interview you will hear me reveal more about my business and my business mentoring book series called Wisdom Whisperer.

I was awarded a special designation during the show, so please tune it to find out what it was!

How are your people management skills?

Thinking back to the first time I was responsible for managing someone, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of being the best boss possible boss I could be. This of course was despite my limited experience in this area. However, when I factored in thinking about the myriad of opportunities to practice managing someone, while being the boss, it became less of an intimidating situation. Perhaps for both of us.

Fast forward in time close to thirty years since having first managed the person I was referring to. The fact I recently heard from this person after three decades was an incredible moment, and not one I expected to occur. What was even more surprising was the fact this person sent me a thank you note for being their boss! It goes to show you there is no time limit on thanking someone, and this is a topic I have previously written about.

In the note from the person I first managed, they shared with me that I was a highly supportive and nurturing boss, and that they were surprised I took a chance on hiring them. They also commented on how hiring them changed their life, and influenced the career direction they ended up pursuing. I never knew any of these facts until recently. My point is that even when I was a freshly minted boss, it was possible to have a positive impact on managing someone and their career.

Until I received the email via a LinkedIn message from this person, I had not considered how early in my career my people management skills would continue to be an asset to both me, and the people I have had the responsibility and honor of managing. Being completely honest, there were times when I recall managing this person that I was unsure of whether I was able to properly guide them. However, each time I felt that way, I had a conversation with myself to remind me that managing someone is actually a two-way process. This made me feel much better when I acknowledged that I was only half of the equation and the outcome results.

When I stopped to consider where I sourced my own people management skills from, I would have to say some of them were modeled by my parents. For the first five to six years of my career, I also learned through observing my bosses how to manage others. Of course, some of my bosses were far better at people management skills than others. Understanding both optimal and sub optimal ways of applying or learning these skills will serve you equally well.

Below are some of my acquired and own methods for how to improve your people management skills.

  • This can apply to both work and life situations, and is a foundational piece of advice to launch from. I know you have heard this before, but it’s not always practiced as well as it should be. Without exception, always treat the person you are managing the way you would want to be treated.
  • People are constantly surprising us with what they do and say. Sometimes this is a positive experience, but if it’s not, consider asking the person “Why did they do or say what they did?” When you ask someone to provide insight to better understand their behavior, it generally offers a teachable moment for you to help them see how they could have handled the situation differently.
  • How often do you praise someone? Often times managers neglect considering how a simple thank you, or positive acknowledgment of a small accomplishment can make someone’s day.
  • Have you considered what adjectives people would use to describe your human engagement skills? Sometimes our perceptions are quite different than the reality of how we are appearing to interact with others. Chances are if this is the case, you may not be aware that this is an area for course correction. If this is a problem area for you, it could also be why you have not, or might not advance into upper management roles.
  • Consider what you have done either in the past, or recently to improve your people management skills. Have you proactively worked on being self-aware of the importance of doing this?
  • Think about people who you would classify as having naturally gifted abilities in managing other people well. Is it possible for you to be mentored by them? Remember the importance of having a mentor, and this applies to all stages of your career. 
  • There are tremendous benefits granted to those who master being highly skilled people managers. They are often fast tracked in their careers, are more satisfied professionally with their roles, have a larger professional network to tap into when they need to do so, and are considered for roles over other people who might be more qualified technically, but are lacking in their human management skills.

This is a rich and ever evolving topic. It is also a subject that you will always benefit from any investment you make in yourself to improve how you interact with others, either personally or professionally.

Tags: #Success #Mentorship #PeopleManagementSkills #Business #Howtodevelopyourpeoplemanagementskills #Business #Sales #Management #Leadership #HumanResources #HumanCapital #Tipsonhowtoimprovepeoplemanagementskills #Strategy

Being friendly. Are you really?

I’m sure many of you have experienced the passing of one of your furry loved ones. Our furry loved one passed away this week. His name was Ollie, and he was a nine-year-old Goldendoodle. Ollie was by my side the majority of any day. Family, friends and clients all knew about Ollie and his many entertaining idiosyncrasies. My favorite one was his ability to walk upstairs backwards, and yes, we have this on video.  

Never did I imagine how gut wrenchingly sad I would feel after Ollie passed. Of course, the reality is I didn’t ever want to think about this day happening. Who would?

As I was reflecting on Ollie’s life, I thought about one of the aspects of his personality that was so endearing. It was the fact he was always happy, and happy to see you. Even if he just saw you five minutes ago and you left the room and came back. He also knew when you needed to be cheered up, and precisely how to do so. This is a remarkable quality that he had, and I realize many other dogs, and some others pets do too.

To say that I am going to miss Ollie would be a gross understatement, and yet, at the same time, I remind myself about how fortunate I was to have him in my life. Not everyone has had the opportunity to experience what it is like to have a pet in their lives that makes them feel the pure joy and love they bestow upon you. However, I wish everyone could have this experience.

Switching gears and refocusing our attention back on the question I posed about whether you are a friendly person, do you know if you truly are one? Perhaps you have been told by others that you are? Or, maybe you think you are, but this hasn’t been overtly confirmed by many others. At least not verbally.

Let’s face it. We know that not everyone is in fact friendly, and I’m sure we could also agree upon the fact there are various levels of being this way. One of the things I often consider as it relates to whether people are friendly, is whether this is a trait that we are born with? Or, perhaps one that we develop as an attribute of our personality as it evolves?

Focusing on yourself, think back to when you were a pre-teen. Do you have memories of being a friendly person? Yes, I will acknowledge its possible people’s circumstances in life may in fact interfere with them being as friendly as they could, but let’s take this out of the measurement equation.

According to some research I did, there have been studies which set out to determine if you could measure a person’s level of friendliness. In fact, there was a study done in the early 1980’s by J.M. Reisman called SACRAL, and it was designed to interpret and measure people’s level of friendliness. It included a 40-item questionnaire that both college students and children participated in.

The net result of the SACRAL study was that the majority of people rated themselves as friendly. However, the scores suggested otherwise, and that not everyone is in fact friendly. This isn’t earth shattering news, but was interesting to know there is a methodology to rate and interpret people’s level of friendliness.

Although I did seek to find more recent studies about measuring friendliness, there didn’t appear to be much data. So, I looked further back in time, and found another study published in 1968. It was conducted by Karl B. Zucker and Daniel C. Jordan, and was called “The Paired Hands Test: A technique for measuring friendliness”. According to what I read, this test is still considered to be a quick, objective and easily administered technique to reliably and with validity be used as a friendliness measurement tool.

Now that we know there are in fact tools to measure friendliness, below are some other ways you can determine if you, or others you know, or encounter are friendly.

  • Are you naturally curious about others, and when you meet them, do you truly ask them questions that allow you to get to know them better? Hint. If you are friendly, you would do this on a regular basis.
  • Although not everyone may feel their sixth sense or intuition is fully operational at all times, the majority of people can sense whether another person is friendly by both their body and verbal language. In other words, we might refer to someone having a friendly vibe. This is a fairly easy one to determine.
  • Another aspect which can contribute to the level of someone’s friendliness, is how genuine they are. Yes, this can be a subjective measurement, and will again require you to rely upon your instincts to help you to determine this when you first meet someone. However, as you get to know a person, it will be obvious whether they are or are not a genuine person. Genuine people would be classified as friendly.
  • Yes, we can all have days when we are not ourselves, and perhaps be described as moody. However, friendly people typically are seldomly moody.
  • You will also notice that most friendly people are also often kind people, and will regularly do nice things for other people. Often the nice things friendly people do for others may not even be seen or known about by others. Why? Because friendly people are not driven by needing to be rewarded for being and acting this way.

If you don’t think you are a friendly person, or have wondered why others who are that way, and behave the way they do, I hope my insight above can help you to understand friendly people better. Perhaps you could get to know more of them, as I’m 100% confident we could all benefit from having more friendly people in our lives.

One more thing. I want to conclude by saying that I sincerely hope that you have an opportunity to have an “Ollie” in your life at some point too. I’m sure going to miss him, but I have a sense he will forever be with me in my heart and soul.

Tags: #Dogs #Pets #Friendly #Friendliness #Genuineness #Relationships #Inspiration #Deathofapet #Passingofapet #Grievingapetsloss